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Harvard Will Net Nearly $7 Million From Latest Stimulus Package, per Report

A Harvard spokesperson declined to comment Friday on whether the University would accept funding from the coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress last month.
A Harvard spokesperson declined to comment Friday on whether the University would accept funding from the coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress last month. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Virginia L. Ma and Kevin A. Simauchi, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard is set to receive nearly $7 million in aid from the latest Congressional stimulus package, according to an analysis published Thursday by the American Council on Education, a higher education interest group.

The relief measure signed into law on Dec. 27 provides $22.7 billion in emergency funding for higher education institutions and students. The funding is an increase from the nearly $14 billion allocated to colleges and universities by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, passed in March 2020.

Harvard was allocated nearly $9 million in aid as part of the CARES Act. Following criticism from multiple members of Congress, Education Secretary Betsy D. DeVos, and President Donald J. Trump, Harvard pledged 100 percent of funds to student financial assistance.

In the wake of that announcement, however, Trump announced that he would request that Harvard “pay back” the money it had been granted.

The University ultimately announced it would not “seek or accept” the funding. Multiple peer institutions, including Stanford University and Yale University, likewise declined the aid.

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton declined to comment Friday on whether Harvard plans to accept the latest round of aid. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

The latest stimulus package places restrictions on universities that paid the endowment tax in 2019, including Harvard. These universities will receive only 50 percent of their allocation, which is determined by factors including the number of students receiving Pell Grants, the number of students enrolled full-time, and the number of students enrolled exclusively online at the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition, universities that paid the endowment tax — those with at least 500 students and at least $500,000 in assets per student — are required to use their aid exclusively for student emergency aid and Covid-related expenses.

Harvard’s endowment was valued at $41.9 billion as of September 2020.

Among Harvard’s peer institutions, Yale University, Stanford University, and MIT are estimated to receive roughly $4.5 million, $5.3 million, and $3.5 million, respectively, according to the American Council on Education simulation.

In an interview with The Crimson in December, Vice President for Finances Thomas J. Hollister said that Harvard faces an “uncertain” economic future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard’s revenue dropped by $138 million in fiscal year 2020, according to the University’s Annual Financial Report.

—Crimson staff writer Virginia L. Ma can be reached at virginia.ma@thecrimson.com.

—Crimson staff writer Kevin A. Simauchi can be reached at kevin.simauchi@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Simauchi.

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